Sally’s mouth was moving but she made no sound. Matthew watched in horror as van der Leyden approached the table, brandishing a long knife. Matthew flung the door wide open and launched himself at him. The alchemist lurched backwards, struggling to regain his footing. Matthew then grabbed a bowl filled with red powder and threw it in his face. Instinctively, van der Leyden moved his hands to his eyes and dropped the knife. At the same time, the spell restraining Sally was lifted and she jumped from the table.
“Run!” Matthew yelled, grabbing the spell book. “I’ll hold him off.”
Sally mouthed something in reply but she still couldn’t speak.
“Just go!” said Matthew. “I’ll be right behind you.”
Matthew spun around to see van der Leyden coming at him with a cleaver. He dodged, stumbling as the blade sank into the surface of the table.
“You are trying my patience, boy!” van der Leyden bellowed. “I don’t know who you are, but you will pay for this!”
Van der Leyden grabbed another knife and slashed repeatedly at Matthew, forcing him backwards, until he was pressed against a wall.
“It seems your luck has run out,” said Nicolaas van der Leyden.
Van der Leyden’s hand held Matthew’s throat tightly, choking him. Matthew could feel the alchemist’s emerald ring press into his skin. As van der Leyden drew back his knife, Matthew clutched the spell book tightly to his chest for protection. Then he heard a muffled thud and the grip around his throat loosened. Sally was standing behind van de Leyden, holding a heavy brass candlestick. Blood poured out of van de Leyden’s scalp and he staggered, stunned by Sally’s blow.
“Run!” yelled Matthew, still holding the spell book. “I’ll be right behind you.”
Taking advantage of her opponent’s momentary weakness, Sally dashed through the attic door and down the stairs, with Matthew close behind.
As they burst into the studio. Matthew shouted out, “Quick jump into the painting!” And she disappeared into the canvas, with her brother following closely behind.
Once inside the painting, Matthew was startled to find that nothing was the same. Sally was gone and so was Peter. The frame no longer showed a view into the Portrait Gallery. Instead there was a maelstrom of swiftly moving images, like videotape on fast forward. Matthew guessed that the chaos created in the time stream had somehow affected the images in the frame. The scenes were moving too quickly for Matthew to make sense out of them. Straining his eyes to catch the right moment, Matthew walked slowly toward the frame once more. Still gripping the spell book tightly, he stepped into the whirlpool.